Aaron Gerow gerow
Thu Jul 22 21:47:22 EDT 1999

Yesterday, the Hinomaru/Kimigayo bill passed the Lower Diet and Eto Jun 
committed suicide, and still the morning wide shows all opened with 

>What has also surprised me, since I can't read Japanese well enough to 
>follow it very well in Japanese papers myself, is how absent the issue has 
>been in the English-language press.  From TV and Japanese friends, I 
>understand how prevalent Japanese media coverage has been, but I've seen 
>almost nothing in English about it.  Granted, I primarily read the Yomiuri, 
>but why is it assumed that English-language readers will have NO interest in 
>this issue?

I think part of the issue is not simply English language press vs. 
Japanese language press, but rather the definition of "news" that 
operates within different media organizations.  The major papers and TV 
news orgnizations like NHK as a rule do not consider celebrity news and 
gossip as news and frequently ignore stories that fill up space and time 
in weekly magazines and wideshows.  There are some differences (the 
Mainichi tends to cover geino news more often than the Asahi), but there 
is still a hierarchy within journalism over what is "really news."  

Satchi is one of the few cases (Aum and the Miura/LA jiken are others) 
where stories that originated in the wideshows and weeklies made their 
way into "respectable" journalism, but even then, the reporting on the 
Satchi affair in the major papers has still been very minimal.

This does raise issues of gender and audience.  Since wideshows mostly 
have a female viewership, it is as if "news" for them is defined as 
Satchi, while "real news" is reserved for evening shows when the men come 
home (shows which don't cover Satchi (especially if it's NHK))--as if 
women would have no interest in learning about the Hinomaru issue in an 
afternoon show.  How is celebrity culture as a whole in fact "feminized" 
through such standards?  How does this relate to the "male" version of 
gossip found in weekly magazines like Asahi Geino, which are tied into 
late night TV culture of sexy idols (which we could call male celebrity 
culture).  Since this also revolves around issues of citizenship (the 
press and the public sphere), how does TV celebrity culture define 
Japanese citizenship and thus the nation across gender lines?  (Satchi is 
interesting in this regard since the issue directly involves political 

Just some more questions.

Aaron Gerow
Yokohama National University
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